uMashesha: The latest local e-hailing startup

October 24, 2018 • Online & Social, Southern Africa

While there are other cab-hailing apps in South Africa, uMashesha is the first to be woman-owned, and is a completely safe and focused App. uMashesha CEO Christine Mesolo believes there's still room for more players.

uMashesha: The latest local e-hailing startup

While there are other cab-hailing apps in South Africa, uMashesha is the first to be woman-owned, and is a completely safe and focused App. uMashesha CEO Christine Mesolo believes there’s still room for more players. Centurion based Cab Hailing start-up uMashesha was launched two months ago. The CEO Christine Mesolo has invested more than R3-million of her own money into the business and has received a short-term loan of R2.5-million from a business partner.

Still on the hunt for more investment, Christine Mesolo indicated that her start-up has so far completed over 1000 trips in and around Pretoria, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Polokwane, and Durban. “I believe there is a market for ride-hailing and that depends on the strategies one has,” says the CEO.

uMashesha also provides delivery services. Christine Mesolo claims her offering stands out from the “mushrooming” number of such start-ups in South Africa because the company “values and respects” its drivers and also points out that the start-up helps its drivers with paying traffic fines.

‘Drivers are partners’

The start-up charges drivers a commission of 14.5% on earnings. At present, the company employs 30 full-time operational staff, 44 interns and it has 1500 drivers. “It does not make business sense that we take a big chunk from their takings, but they have to pay for all other services like data, petrol, car service and liability insurances,” Christine Mesolo explained.

‘Riders and drivers taken care of’

uMashesha vehicles are fitted with car tracking systems, panic buttons and cameras — both inside and outside the cars. In the event of an accident, both uMashesha drivers and riders automatically qualify for emergency air medical evacuation, hospital cash back cover, medical expenses cover, trauma counselling, mobility cover as well as accident funeral cover all up to R7500 per month. uMashesha will be scaled globally by 2020. If she’s to do that she’ll have to find a way to dominate the local market, and that means beating Uber and Taxify and a handful of other local competitors.

Added delivery service

In addition, the CEO (Christine Mesolo) has 20 years of experience in the transport industry, has integrated a delivery service on top of her start-up’s mainstay ride-hailing service which she founded last year. “During off-peak hours or at any given time our partners or drivers can accept courier service requests from the uMashesha app,” she says.  Christine Mesolo explains that the delivery service helps uMashesha users to transport any package that can fit in a sedan.

She says both the ride-hailing and delivery services have become very popular, thanks to the start-up’s marketing strategy which has made use of social media, Online Marketing, radio, and Newspaper. “We still have to launch other services like grocery (deliveries) which will increase our market share and presence,” she added.

The plans now are to launch an offering in more locations across South Africa. Next on the list is to add Mpumalanga province and Bloemfontein and Rustenburg to the list of locations she services — before the end of this month. “With us, a client or driver partner is never left to wonder and that makes us stand out within the market.”

Edited by Daniëlle Kruger
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